The Great War

from Songs & Sonnets for England in War Time, an electronic edition

The Hush

There is a hush before the thunder-jar,

When white the steeples against purple stand:

There is a hush when night with star on star

Goes ashen on the summer like a brand.

Now a more awful pause appals the soul,

When concentrating armies crouch to spring;

Stillness more fraught than any thunder-roll,

Dawn European with a redder wing.

The Teuton host no conscience onward drives;

Sullen they come; to slaughter shepherded;

Timed for the shambles with unwilling lives,

With doubt each soldier is already dead.

The massed battalions as a myth shall reel;

Vainly they fight, if first they cannot feel.

Times, August 13, 1914